Porsche Blows Off Diesels for Hybrid Power

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson

Back in May, investment bank UBS and auto engineering firm Ricardo released a report entitled “ Is Diesel set to boom in the US?” The document concluded that hybrid technology is America’s preferred propulsion, partly due to the vehicles’ “visible badge of green awareness amongst higher income purchasers.” BUT the authors predicted that diesel sales will outpace hybrids by 300K units by 2012 (1.5m diesels vs. 1.2m hybrids). Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Porsche will forgo diesel power and produce a hybrid-engined Cayenne. Max Warburton, a UBS analyst in London, was offended: “They say diesel isn’t consistent with their brand, but a hybrid is? I can’t see that. If they don’t do diesel, it’s going to limit the growth of their company.” And that’s a bad thing?

Glenn Swanson
Glenn Swanson

Glenn is a baby-boomer, born in 1954. Along with his wife, he makes his home in Connecticut. Employed in the public sector as an Information Tedchnology Specialist, Glenn has long been a car fan. Past rides have included heavy iron such as a 1967 GTO, to a V8 T-Bird. In between those high-horsepower cars, he's owned a pair of BMW 320i's. Now, with a daily commute of 40 miles, his concession to MPG dictates the ownership of a 2006 Honda Civic coupe which, while fun to drive, is a modest car for a pistonhead. As an avid reader, Glenn enjoys TTAC, along with many other auto-realated sites, and the occasional good book. As an avid electronic junkie, Glenn holds an Advanced Class amateur ("ham") radio license, and is into many things electronic. From a satellite radio and portable GPS unit in the cars, to a modest home theater system and radio-intercom in his home, if it's run by the movement of electrons, he's interested. :-)

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  • Gottleib Gottleib on Jul 27, 2007

    Very Interesting view, especially the mention in the WSJ article that Germany was considering taxing vehicles according the amount of their emissions. That might be an idea worth considering for the US too. After all the more you pollute the more somebody has to clean up the air or water, not to speak of the health effects. Of course I was in favor of taxing fat too, but you know where that idea went. Porsche is right on this, diesel engines just don’t mix with the name Porsche.

  • Lostpoet Lostpoet on Jul 27, 2007
    Megan Benoit: July 27th, 2007 at 12:37 pm Electric engines produce great low-end, on-demand torque. How does that not fit with Porsche’s image? Megan, diesel engines produce great low-end, on-demand torque. They've also won at Le Mans. How does that not fit Porsche's image?
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 27, 2007

    The Wall Street Journal was a bit behind on this one. Porsche announced its intentions to build a hybrid Cayenne at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2005. I question why Porsche has an SUV at all, when it arguably dilutes its brand message and is generally a poor seller. I'd be inclined to leave the SUV's to VW (the equally unreliable Toureag) and Audi (the Q7). But if they are going to insist on it, hybrid is the way to go. This car is designed largely for the US market, and the US is going hybrid, so it makes sense to stay ahead of the curve. I'm guessing that if diesel sales in the US are going to increase, that will largely be in the large pickup segment; the critical mass in the US is behind the hybrid for passenger cars or SUV's/SAV's. Lexus helps to benchmark this category, and Lexus, of course, has a hybrid.

  • Mrcknievel Mrcknievel on Jul 28, 2007

    Diesel produces plenty of torque and if they go with current German clean diesel trend then all of the barking about toxic fumes isn't as relevant as people want to make it out to be. Is it flawless? No. But it's definitely not your grandpa's smoker anymore. You'd think with what Audi has pulled off with diesels already, and the talks of a diesel R8 possibly hitting the line up, that Porsche wouldn't be so quick to rule out diesel in favor of heavy hybrid technology. Hybrid engines are great for basic people movers, but I'm missing the appeal for sportscars....other than knowing that sticking "hybrid" on the paint is rapidly becoming a license to print money...even if it's not as hot as people think for anything other than small/mid passenger cars or cute utes. Look no further than the LS Hybrid..talk about a con.